Save the planet--good idea but what can one person do? Save money--now you're talking! What if you knew you could do both at the same time? Here are some tips on how to green up the planet and your pocketbook, too.
Plan Your Meals
How many times have you thrown out food because it spoiled before you could eat it? Besides wasting your money, you're wasting the energy needed to produce the food and bring it to market. Here's the solution:
- Take a little time to map out a week's worth of menus and then shop once instead of driving to the store every time you decide what to cook.
- Save time, energy, and money by following the "cook once and eat twice" plan. For example, if you roast one chicken, roast a second one at the same time and use the meat in another meal. Or make a double batch of chili and freeze half.
- Save money and energy by eating in instead of driving for take-out. Cook just one extra meal at home per week and pocket the savings.
It's a simple equation: use less = spend less.
- Wait until you have a full load to do dishes or laundry, and do those loads in certified energy-efficient appliances.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
- Turn down the thermostat on your water heater and your furnace.
- Put up a clothesline and dry your things the old-fashioned way. (Sunlight is free and makes whites whiter naturally!)
- Replace incandescent lights with energy-efficient compact fluorescents or LED lights. CFL and LED bulbs are more expensive to purchase, but they last for years and run at a fraction of the cost of regular bulbs.
- Unplug chargers, computers, and small appliances when they're not in use.
Park and Walk
The soaring cost of fuel is probably taking a bite out of your budget already. And it's not just when you gas up your own car: food, clothing, household goods--everything that has to be transported is coming with a higher price tag.
- Save gas money and reduce pollution by grouping your errands and walking, carpooling, or taking the bus whenever you can.
- When you do use your car, you can save money and maximize gas mileage by keeping your tires properly inflated and your car tuned-up. Remember that idling your car wastes fuel. So does speeding and hard-braking, so dial back the road rage.
Adjust Your Focus
Simply be aware of what and how you consume.
- Buy in bulk to reduce excess packaging and save money per unit.
- Store food in reusable containers instead of single-use throw-aways. It's cheaper in the long run and saves resources.
- Reduce waste by supplying your own shopping bags.
- Shop vintage and thrift stores to give good stuff a second run.
- Buy once, buy well. Choose the highest quality you can afford. Your goods will last longer, saving you money over the long haul.
You don't have to be a superhero to save the planet--even we mere mortals can make a difference. Is there something you do to help green things up? Add a comment and share your tips. Thanks!